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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Winter Warmers....Steamed Jam Roly-Poly, Spinning Shetland, and a Finished Sweater!

Anzac day weekend, we had 3 days of great weather for this time of year but yesterday was very cold and my word did it rain - all night and all day.

When it's cold and grey and it's a Sunday I had to make a nice traditional English pudding. Steamed Jam Roly-Poly, always loved it but I haven't made one for many many years. It's the pudding of my childhood.

It's simple and straight forward to make, however, you will need to get your hands on some suet which is easier said than done here in NZ. English grocers stock it, although it's the vegetarian version but I prefer that anyway.

Since you have the oven on to make one, you may as well make 2 as they freeze very well.

I prefer steaming but some recipes instruct it to be baked. Steaming gives you a nice soft, light sponge rather than the hard and crispy one that you would get from baking. I'm saying steamed but it's not cooked over a pan of boiling water, it's cooked in the oven wrapped in foil over a tray of hot water. For me the jam has always got to be homemade seedless raspberry, nothing else cuts the mustard!

Here's my recipe, makes 1 roll enough for 6-8 servings.

Steamed Jam Roly-Poly

250g self raising flour
50g butter, cold and cubed plus extra for greasing
50g suet
1 tablespoon of sugar
150ml milk plus possibly a little extra
150g jam

Put a roasting tin onto the bottom shelf of the oven and put another shelf directly above it. Fill the tin 2/3 full with boiling water from the kettle and preheat the oven to 180 deg/160 fan/ gas 4.

Tear off a large sheet of both aluminium foil and baking parchment. Lay the parchment on top of the foil and grease it thoroughly with butter.

Put the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until it disappears, then stir in the suet and 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Add the milk and mix in with a knife, you want a very soft dough, you may have to add a little more milk depending on your flour.

Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and bring it together until smooth. Roll it out into a square about 25x25cm.

Spread the jam over the surface leaving a gap of about 2 cm all around the edges.

Roll it up nice and firmly but don't squeeze it or put too much pressure on as you will force the jam out! Pinch the the edges together to seal and carefully lift it onto the greased paper join side down.

Loosely bring up the paper and foil and scrunch it together to seal all along the edges. It will rise quite a bit during cooking so don't wrap it tightly. Place the foil parcel on the shelf directly above the tin of water and cook for 60-80 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let the pudding sit for 10 minutes before unwrapping it. Slice thickly and serve warm with custard. If you want to freeze it just let it go cold, wrap it in fresh baking paper and foil and freeze.

Now the sweater which is a birthday gift for my Brother. I used some Shetland that I spun about 4 or 5 years ago when I first started spinning. I had forgotten about that yarn and I had more than a sweaters worth, that's what happens when you start looking through your stash, you find things long forgotten about! The pattern is Riddari, it was a very enjoyable knit:

This will keep him warm during the Otago winter. I've already got requests from hubby and both my son's for one of these.

So, after knitting the Riddari sweater I felt inspired to spin my remaining Shetland combed top. This is a fingering/4 ply weight yarn and the colour is a light fawn. 2 skeins done already, I'm aiming for a sweaters worth and thinking of over-dyeing some for a colour work sweater:

Here's Pandora keeping her eye on things, she's wondering if she can steal some fibre without me noticing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hikoo CoBaSi...

I recently received some beautiful yarn that was something totally new to me, Hikoo CoBaSi. It's a blend of cotton, bamboo, silk and elastic. The yarn looks very tightly spun when it is in the skein. I had 2 skeins of chocolate brown and 1 of olive green:

So I just had to knit a pair of two-tone socks, I used exactly 1 skein of each colour. This is a very easy pattern. This pair are for my hubby and I made them slightly smaller than I normally would due to the elasticity of the yarn. Once knit up it has very good stitch definition and forms a nice smooth fabric.

I have one skein of the brown left and I'm tempted to order another skein of a different colour, maybe pink, and make a pair for myself, but I'm still on a yarn diet!